Dog Carriers for Travel: 10 of the Best

Are you planning to take your dog to a vet, a hike, on an airline, a bike ride, or anywhere else you want to be with your pooch? Well, you definitely need to think of a dog carrier for travel. The carrier will allow you to transport your dog with ease and keep your dog comfy and safe. Additionally, many carriers are built and designed to meet the regulations for air travel.

There are numerous brands of dog carriers in the market so choosing the right one proves difficult. Your selection will however depend on the nature of travel you want to go with your canine friend and that will work best for both you and your pooch. The size of your dog also needs to be considered as there are carriers suited for senior dogs and others for small puppies.

Our comprehensive guide will help you choose the best dog carriers available on the market that suit your needs.

The Rundown

What to Look for in a Good Dog Carrier

Before you decide on which dog carrier to buy, below are some of the considerations you should bear in mind.

  1. Style of carrier

Your type of travel and personal preferences will determine the style of the dog carrier you’ll go for. If your travel will be on an airline, then go for dog carriers that are approved and that suit airline travel. Before you book your airline ticket, it is advisable to check your airline’s restrictions that dictate the size of the dog carrier they accept to be sure if you’re going to travel with your dog.

  • Soft-sided: These carriers are light and well known for their simplicity to travel with. They are folded up and stored easily when not in use. Most of these dog carriers, specifically the airline approved ones, are soft-sided and can easily fit under the seat.
  • Hard-sided: The hard-sided carrier for your furry friend will be ideal if you need durability. The carrier offers additional protection for your dog and cleaning it is easy-peasy. You will need a hard-sided case if your dog is large and has to go in the plane’s cargo hold.
  • Wearable: Apart from keeping your hands free, wearable carriers will give you that feeling of having your dog closer to you and make the dog feel more secure. These carriers are similar to baby carriers and they can be worn on your front or back. Make sure that your dog feels comfy inside the carrier and you as well. For additional safety, this carrier has zippers.
  • Wheeled carriers: When carrying your dog for a long distance, for instance, they can start to feel heavy. Wheeled carriers now come in handy. It will keep your dog from being jostled around and makes it easy for you to move your dog around. Wheeled carriers are recommended for city walking and airports but not for ragged hiking.
  1.  Size of your dog

It is important to consider the weight, height, and width of your dog when choosing a dog carrier. The carrier should allow your dog to move comfortably, turn around and stretch out. For a hard-sided carrier, you’ll need to give your dog a moving room and a few more inches of height, unlike the expandible, soft-sided carrier. Soft-sided carriers, for instance, you should consider adding three or four inches to their shoulder height and five to six inches for a hard-sided carrier.

Back carriers are designed for smaller dogs. They are tight unlike standard carriers and worn at the back. You risk injuring yourself by carrying a large dog using a backpack carrier.  

The other thing to ensure is that the carrier should not be too small for your pooch. It will demand you more research for a larger dog, especially for air travel carriers. It is worth finding your dog an appropriate carrier to make him feel comfortable. 

  1. Ease of cleaning

Talking of easily cleaned dog carriers, a hard-sided carrier turns out to be the one. You simply wipe them down. For a soft-sided carrier or a wearable one, try finding the one that can be washed by a machine as that will simplify your work when cleaning. At some point, your dog will mess and this is inevitable. If the carrier is not machine washable, some of them come with washable and removable pads making your cleaning easy and fast.

  1.  Portability

Everyone will always go for that dog carrier which is easy to transport and that will give you an easy time carrying it. If you are that person who likes flying with your dog, then it is important that you are able to comfortably carry your dog through the airport and with an approved dog carrier for the same. However, portability won’t be of much importance if you are going out for a road trip because you will not be moving or carrying them more often. Just make sure the dog is safe and comfortable in the carrier.

  1. Pockets/storage

Some of the dog carriers have compartments for storing things like waste bags or treats. The extra storage will be of service when maybe you never traveled with your dog’s travel bag. The backpack may have more storage than the soft-sided case which may have two or three pockets

If you intend to do outdoor activities with your dog like bike riding or just hiking, then storage will be of great importance. A wearable carrier with these compartments will be of service. This will allow you to store your dog’s toys, leash, and other necessities as well as your dog’s travel bowl and water bottle.

Best dog carrier reviews

Now that you know what to look for in a dog carrier, below are the best dog carriers for planes, cars, and every other type of adventure.

1. Best Hard-Sided Dog Carrier: AmazonBasics Two-Door Top-Load Hard-Sided Pet Travel Carrier

 Best Hard-Sided Dog Carrier -Dog Carriers for Travel

Built with durability and convenience in mind, AmazonBasics Two-Door Top-Load Hard-Sided Pet Travel Carrier is the best hard-sided dog carrier for you. The crate is well ventilated at the sides, back, and top. The two doors, one at the top and the other at the side, allow you to load your dog from either door. It is made of heavy-duty plastic and its front door is made of steel wire. There are additional screws at the bottom and at the top for additional reinforcement. 

This type of carrier can carry up to 90-pound capacity making it suitable for carrying large dogs. This carrier is about 4.5 pounds in weight. This carrier comes in two different sizes: 24 x 16.75 x 14.5 inches and 19.4 x 12.8 x 10 inches.

The  AmazonBasics Top-Load Hard-Sided Pet Travel Carrier is one of the best carriers for your pooch and you should get one for your canine friend.

2. Best Soft-Sided Dog Carrier: AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Mesh Pet Travel Carrier

 Best Soft-Sided Dog Carrier -Best Dog Carriers for Travel

The AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Mesh Pet Travel Carrier is a small soft-sided dog carrier you’ll ever find. With an adjustable shoulder strap and a seat belt strap, the carrier provides appropriate safety when transporting your dog. It has a removable and machine washable fleece pad. You can lord your dog either through the top or the side. The mesh ventilation on all its sides provides proper ventilation. The fitted spring wireframe makes it possible for the carrier to fit under some airline seats, though you need first to check the dimensions.

This type of dog carrier comes in three categories: Small size, medium, and large size. The small size which measures 13.8 x 8.7 x 8.7 inches meant for dogs weighing up to eight pounds. The medium size which measures 16.5 x 9.4 x 9.8 inches meant for dogs weighing up to 16 pounds. The large size carrier measures 19.7 x 10.2 x 11.2 inches and can carry a maximum load of up to 22 pounds. Looking for a good quality soft-sided carrier? None can beat the AmazonBasics Soft-Sided Mesh Pet Travel Carrier. 

3. Best dog carrier sling: Yudodo Pet Dog Sling Carrier

Made of leather and mesh, Yudodo Pet Dog Sling Carrier is the best dog carrier for small puppies. It is soft, durable and breathable. This carrier well suits chihuahuas, miniature pinschers, Yorkshire terriers, toy poodles and other small breeds. 

It is safe to carry your dog using this type of carrier. It has a reinforced zipper and buckles for additional security. Its adjustable strap allows you to adjust it to a size that comfortably fits you. You can choose either the small carrier or you can go for the larger one depending on the size of your dog. The smaller carrier measures 15 x 3.9 x 7.8 inches and it is recommended for a weight not exceeding five pounds. The larger carrier measures 17 x 5 x 11 inches and it is recommended for weight not exceeding ten pounds. 

The carrier is also fitted with a leash which ensures that your dog does not get out. When you are on the go, the sling allows your dog to look around freely.

Want to go on an adventure with your dog hands-free, no other carrier beats the Yudodo Pet Dog Sling Carrier.

4. Best Backpack Dog Carrier: PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack

PetAmi Deluxe Pet Carrier Backpack is the ideal carrier if you want to travel, walk, or go for a hike with your furry friend at your back. This type of carrier gives both you and your dog maximum comfort. 

It measures 12.5 x 10.2 x 16.3 inches and weighs 3.6 pounds. It can carry a dog up to a max weight of 18 pounds. It has a two-way entry which allows for maximum ventilation. This carrier has three pockets where you can put your dog’s water bottle, your phone, and maybe a dog toy if you have one. It is fitted with waist and chest straps for your comfort. Well fitted with three safety buckles and safety straps, this carrier assures your dog safety and prevents your dog from escaping.

The sherpa-lined bedding also will keep your canine friend comfortable and relaxed inside the carrier. Made with polyester, this dog carrier is durable and one of the best Backpack dog carriers that keeps your dog comfy-cozy.

5. Best dog carriers for hiking: Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack

Backpack carriers are the best choice for those who love hiking. The Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack measures 13 x 21 x 10 inches and best suits dogs weighing up to 25 pounds. It comes with a lot of zippered pockets for additional storage.

It has a waterproof bottom, a laptop sleeve where you can keep your laptop, and a roll-up mesh window opened for visibility. The window also allows your dog to get free air inside a secure interior tether.

For additional confidence and comfort while on your hike, the carrier has a sternum strap, a hip belt, a ventilated back panel, and two sleeves for your water bottles. Want to explore the outdoors without your hiking backpack?, grab your Kurgo Dog Carrier Backpack and enjoy the adventure with your furry friend.

6. Best dog carrier with wheels: Pet Peppy Airline Approved Expandable Pet Carrier

Pet Peppy Airline Approved Expandable Pet Carrier is beloved for its wheels when it comes to dog carriers. They are super convenient and they are approved for air travel. This type of carrier fitted wheels that can rotate 360 degrees with a fully retractable handle. It offers a smooth, level ride for your dog and it is easy to maneuver. Its detachable wheels allow you to use it as just a regular carrier.

The mesh at the sides allows free air circulation making it a well-ventilated carrier. Ventilated roof prevents overheating and air circulation during car rides or long flights. The wireframe on both sides adds additional support while the two-door zippers provide easy access making this type of carrier adapt to your varying needs.

It is so easy to expand this carrier. You just unzip the sides and roll them down. Inside the carrier is a plush washable liner making it easy to clean up a dog’s mess. 

7. Best purse dog carrier: PetsHome Dog Purse Carrier

The PetsHome Dog Purse Carrier is the best dog carrier to carry your small dog with. This purse carrier makes your travel stylish as you have a wide range of designs and colors to choose from. It is made of nylon material and studded with gold hardware and its interior is lined with waterproof material. The soft pads are machine washable making them easy to clean. The carrier has additional sleeves where you can store small items. With decency in mind, this carrier was designed. Thanks to its foldable and detachable design which enables you to store or transport it easily.

The small purse carrier can carry a maximum load of up to 13 pounds and measures 15.7 x 7.9 x 9.5 inches while the large purse carrier can carry a maximum load of 17 pounds and it measures 17.3 x 10.2 x 10.6 inches. For a classy and fashionable pet purse for travel, think of the PetsHome Dog Purse Carrier.

8. Best overall: Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Airline Approved Pet Carrier

The Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Airline Approved Pet Carrier is one of the best soft-sided dog carriers that was designed with comfort and safety as priorities. This carrier accords your dog with maximum relaxation and enough space to turn around. It has a sleeve where you can put your small accessories. This carrier has well-ventilated mesh panels, locking zippers, top and side entry, and an adjustable non-slip carrying strap. Your furry friend will be comfortable in this carrier with its lambskin liner which is machine washable. 

This type of carrier comes in three different sizes; Small, large, and medium. The mall carrier measures 17 x 11 x 10.5 inches and can carry a dog of up to eight pounds. The medium size carrier measures 17 x 11 x 10.5 inches and carries a dog of up to 16 pounds. The large carrier can carry a dog of up to a max weight of 22 pounds and measures 17 x 11 x 10.5 inches.

With a wide variety of colours to choose from, the  Sherpa Travel Original Deluxe Airline Approved Pet Carrier is with no doubt the best dog carrier. 

9. Henkelion Soft Sided Collapsible Puppy Carrier

The Henkelion Soft-Sided Collapsible Puppy Carrier is an airline-approved dog carrier and will always appear on the best dog carriers list. It is waterproof and durable. Made of polyester, this type of carrier comes in a variety of colors and accords your canine friend with a comfortable and relaxed trip. This carrier comes in two sizes. The medium size measures 17 x 11 x 11 inches and can carry a dog of up to a max weight of 15 pounds and the large size carrier that can carry a dog of up to 25 pounds and measures 20 x 13 x 13 inches. 

The carrier has a fleece bed that is machine washable. It has three entrances where you can lord your dog through with a side pocket where you can put your accessories. You’ll find Henkelion Soft-Sided Collapsible Puppy Carrier the best travel dog carrier for your adventure.

10. Tirrinia Soft Sided Pet Travel Carrier for Small Dogs

The Tirrinia Soft-Sided Pet Travel Carrier for Small Dogs is an airline-approved and one of the best dog carriers you can ever come across. It can easily be attached to rolling luggage. It is a soft-sided dog carrier that comes with either a squire or a round top and can accommodate a dog of ten pounds maximum weight. Apart from the window where you can feed your dog, this carrier has safety buckles that prevent your dog from escaping. This carrier has an exterior pocket, a removable pad, and a mesh panel that allows free air circulation making your dog feel comfortable.

Over To You

When traveling with your dog, comfort and safety is of great importance for both you and your dog. Choosing the best dog carrier from our list of best dog carriers, you will be assured of getting a comfortable, high quality, and durable travel carrier that your dog will enjoy.

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Coco is a regular content writer of pet daily press and working on wildlife animal health. Billy researched on hundreds of dog health issues, foods, medicines and dog's behaviours. He currently lives in Orlando, FL. He owns a Golden Retriever and a Great Pyrenees. His wife also has two cats.

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